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More rental help for sub-tenants on State properties, even non-SMEs

THE Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said on Thursday that it has notified master tenants on State properties of their part in passing on rental relief to their sub-tenants, in line with the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Bill passed in Parliament last week.

This includes requiring master tenants to waive rents for April to July for sub-tenants that are eligible small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and non-profit organisations.

Those in commercial accommodation, F&B, retail, recreation/entertainment, healthcare and other services, as well as the social sector are to receive four months of rental waivers; those in commercial offices, industrial and agriculture sectors are to receive two months of rental waivers.

Master tenants also need to sign an undertaking that they have provided the mandated rental relief to eligible commercial SME and non-profit sub-tenants, said SLA.

To be eligible, SMEs need to have had no more than S$100 million in turnover last year and suffered at least a 35-per-cent drop in average monthly revenue from April to May, compared to the same period last year. They also must have entered into tenancies before March 25 this year.

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But in cases where sub-tenants are not SMEs, or do not qualify for the mandated rental relief, master tenants are required to pass down at least 80 per cent of the rental waivers received.

Master tenants can offset the rental relief granted to the sub-tenants by any previous monetary assistance provided from February this year.

Master tenants themselves stand to receive two to four months of rental waivers from the government.

But those with cash flow concerns may apply to SLA for assessment on the grounds of financial hardship if they are unable to provide the full rental waiver to sub-tenants.

In total, rental waivers will be granted to over 2,000 commercial tenants and over 100 social-sector tenants of State properties, with rental relief to be passed on to over 2,000 eligible sub-tenants.

Some sub-tenants had perceived earlier rental relief to be insufficient as it came up to fractions of the sums their master tenants had received.

Subsequently, when Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced further rental help as part of the Fortitude Budget in May, he said that the government will ensure that these measures flow through to help sub-tenants, many of whom are SMEs.

Meanwhile, both master tenants and sub-tenants with cash flow concerns may apply for deferred payment of rental arrears accumulated from Feb 1 up to Oct 19. The arrears can be repaid in equal instalments over a nine-month period, with interest capped at 3 per cent a year, or offset with security deposits.

However, a minimum of one month’s security deposit must be retained, and it must be replenished to the contractual amount at the end of the nine-month repayment period.

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